Via Matt Richman:
“Some economists call the 30 years from 1947-1977 the “Great Prosperity”. We invested in our infrastructure. We expanded our higher education system so that low-income families could send their kids to college. Working conditions got better. Productivity increased. But most importantly, the income of the average worker more than doubled — and everyone’s standard of living increased.
“Fast forward to 1980. Imagine you’re in an auditorium filled with 100 people. Everyone there makes a different amount of money. One person is a top 1 percenter; another person is a top 2 percenter; a third person is a top 3 percenter; etc. Joe, the top 1 percenter in the crowd, owns many times more money than the average, middle-of-the-road guy in the auditorium. He worked hard, started his own business, and innovated in ways most people couldn’t imagine. He was — and should be — rewarded.
“But the problem is what’s happened since 1980. If only 5 dollars of new income had been created over the last 30 years, 4 of them would have gone to Joe while everyone else got a penny. 80% of all new income created over the last 30 years has gone to the top 1% of earners. The rich have gotten richer while the middle class has faced stagnation.
“Why did this happen? Because of Republican trickle-down ‘voodoo’ economic policy devised by David Stockman that was, in his own words, ‘a Trojan horse to bring down the top rate’ for the rich.
“Over the last 30 years our tax policy has slowly shifted to favor the rich. The top marginal Income Tax rate has dropped from 70% to 35%. The long-term Capital Gains tax rate has dropped from 28% to 15%. The result? Warren Buffet now pays a lower tax rate than teachers, firefighters, and cops.
“Embracing Republican “supply-side” economic theory has also led to the upward transfer of wealth. Social inequality is now at the highest levels it’s been at since the Great Depression. The top 1% of earners — 3 million people — make more money every year than the bottom 150 million combined, and the 400 richest Americans now own more of it than the bottom 150 million.
“A strong middle class is the basis of a vibrant economy. Adopting Republican economic ideas has caused the middle class to decline. The median household income has gone down 7% — $3,807 — since 1999. 46.2 million Americans now live in poverty — the largest amount on record. Republican economic policies caused the middle class to stagnate for the last 30 years. It was Republican economic policies that got us into this mess. Only Democratic policy can get us out of it.”
Unfortunately we don’t have a true liberal with the guts to stand up and say that. Despite the Republican rhetoric, Obama is not a liberal (and neither was Clinton, for that matter). Instead of a bold liberal who would push through real reform, we’re stuck with centrists who give in to the Republicans on every major issue. We really need someone more like Bernie Sanders.